You’re probably aware of this, but the COVID-19 pandemic is going to hit our Hispanic friends particularly hard. Where the virus and its aftermath is already more visible than it is here in Western Kentucky, it is abundantly clear that Latinos are disproportionately impacted because of immediate job loss. The most recent numbers from New York City (my data is from the City University of New York, and the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy) indicate that 41% of the Hispanic population are part of a household where someone has lost a job.
Here at home, some of our precious Hispanic congregants who worked in the foodservice industry have already lost their jobs. Many of our restaurants were not able to convert quickly to curbside or takeout service, and – even where such was possible – employees had to be cut in many instances. And you can imagine what this is doing to our local hotel industry. Just take a glance at the empty parking lots when you’re in the Exit 4 area, and imagine the impact on Hispanics who desperately need some of those related jobs. I am so proud of Pastor Julio for staying on top of this situation on a daily basis, and for spiritually supporting our impacted sheep.
We tend to think of this virus as an indiscriminate attacker, and – medically speaking – I suppose that’s true. Financially, however, certain segments of society suffer more when COVID-19 comes calling. And I wanted to blog about this today as a gentle reminder to all of us to love our Hispanic congregation well for such a time as this. Where there is fear and sadness, there is always tremendous ministry opportunity in the name of Christ!
Please help me encourage this segment of our body of believers. We are una familia! Your care and concern, right now, could have an eternal impact.
Familia is among the strongest of values among our Hispanic friends. We all love our families, but for Hispanics there’s more to the story. The way our majority culture values independence, Hispanics value a constant community that cares for one another – particularly when there are biological or marital ties. This is best reflected in the idea many Americans have that, once someone is 18, they move out and make it on their own. But that is not assumed among Hispanics, and there are plenty of good reasons why Hispanic families tend to stick together much longer than that.
I share that with you as a bit of a challenge, because the value of familia is thoroughly Biblical. We, the church, are a family because our Lord delights in familial love – and has called us to model such love. In fact, we have been purchased by such love.
Wouldn’t it be more than wonderful if our Hispanic sisters and brothers felt such amazing grace right now? You and I could be the “other family” they never knew they had.
You are such a loving people. Thanks for being you!